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Fabric Masterpiece 


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build, hack, tweak, share, discover, J 

Fabric Masterpiece 

Written By: Tricia Mills Gray 


• Digital projector (1) 

like those used in office presentations. 
Just make sure it will work with your 


Digital image of your desired painting (1) 
for best results, pick a piece that has 
large swaths of solid color, such as a 
cubist or modern painting. In other 
words, pointillism might not be the best 

Foamboard (1) 

cut to the size of your desired result. 

This can be found at a craft store like 


Thin posterboard (1) 
large enough for your desired result. If 
you can't find large enough pieces, you 
can tape them together to make the 
desired size. More poster-board can be 
layered for a 3D effect, if desired. 

Masking tape (1) 

or duct tape for taping posterboard. 

Ruler (1) 

or measuring tape. 

X-Acto knifed) 

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Fabric Masterpiece 

for cutting foamboard. 

Black sharpie (1) 

Scissors (1) 

for cutting poster board and fabric. 

Double-stick cellophane tape (1) 

Fabric/craft glue (1) 


or other border fabrics for outlining 

shapes and details. 

Fabric (1) 

Different colors and textures of fabric to 

replicate the different paint colors. I 

recommended using fabric that is thin 

enough to fold easily, without being too 

sheer. I found mine at Joann Fabric and 


Stick pins (1) 

for holding pieces in place. 

Paintbrush (1) 

very small, for gluing yarn to pieces. 

Frame (1) 

to fit the piece once finished, without 



When it comes to decorating, I picture exactly what I want, then refuse to settle for less. 
Take my living room. After a year of finding the perfect furniture, I wanted to craft one last 
piece to complete my vision. I was inspired by a gorgeous print I saw in a restaurant, a 
colorful, cubist painting of musicians by Emanuel Vardi. 

I saw on TV how to stretch fabric on a canvas as an alternative to framed art. Could I pay 
homage to the Vardi piece and recreate it as a fabric collage? With the help of my laptop and 
a digital projector, I did just that. 

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Fabric Masterpiece 

Note: Make sure to seek permission when recreating someone else's art — it's not only the 
law, but you'd expect the same in return. 

Your collage can be as big or small as you want. However, make sure that the aspect ratio 
remains constant so your picture looks right. For instance, the digital image of my Vardi 
painting was 507 pixels wide by 337 pixels high, making the aspect ratio 507/337 = 
approximately 1 .5. Since I wanted my "painting" to be 45" wide to fit on my wall, my 
canvas needed to be 45" wide by 30" high, to keep the aspect ratio the same (45/30 = 1 .5). 

Once you've calculated your dimensions, measure them out on the foamboard and 
posterboard with a ruler, then cut them to size using the X-Acto knife. If the posterboard is 
not big enough, use the masking tape to tape 2 or 3 pieces together. I wanted to create 3 
layers — the background, the yellow halo background, and the musicians themselves — 
so I repeated the posterboard sizing 3 times. The decision to use layers is up to you. 

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Fabric Masterpiece 

Using masking or duct tape, tape your posterboard "canvas" to a wall. Then connect your 
computer to the projector, and project your digital image onto the posterboard. You will 
need to adjust the distance of the projector to ensure that your image fits perfectly onto the 
posterboard. In addition, be sure the projector is not tilted, or the image will be distorted. 

Using a Sharpie, trace the projected painting image onto the posterboard. Your tracing 
marks will be used as a guide for cutting out shapes, and later for yarn placement in 
details such as the violin and cello on my Vardi piece. 

Because I used 3 layers, I traced only the background on the first posterboard piece, then 
the halo backgrounds on the second piece, and finally, the musicians themselves on the 
third. Use your own stylistic judgment in places that seem ambiguous. For example, on the 
background layer, I connected lines that were covered up by the musicians, and I left out 
some of the lines that were not necessary on the cello. After all, this is your rendition. 

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Fabric Masterpiece 

Using scissors, cut along your trace lines to create patterns for your fabric. Because you 5 
be using each pattern piece for a different fabric, take care not to create pieces too small 
for the fabric to wrap around. For smaller details, such as those on the musicians' eyes, 
eave them intact for yarn detailing later. 

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• For each cutout pattern, choose your desired color/texture of fabric, place it upside-down 
on your work surface, then place the pattern face down on the fabric, using double-stick 
tape to keep it in place. Trace a border on the fabric approximately 1/2" inch beyond the 
pattern on all sides and cut out the fabric piece. 

• Note: to prevent confusion, you may want to make a note of which color fabric you'll use 
on the back of each piece. 

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• Place the fabric-covered pattern 
pieces on the foamboard canvas to 
assemble your painting. Because 
the fabrics have different 
thicknesses, there may be small 
gaps or slight overlapping when 
you put the pieces back together. 
Don't worry! The small flaws will be 
covered when you border the 
pieces with yarn, etc. Just be sure 
that the outside edges of the 
painting pieces are in line with the 
foamboard as much as possible. 

• When you're satisfied with how 
your pieces fit together, use the 
fabric/craft glue to attach the 
pieces to the foamboard. Once 
they are glued down, place 
something heavy on each piece to 
keep it flat as the glue dries. If 
there are layers to your picture, be 
sure the bottom layer is completely 
dry before gluing the next layer on. 
Let the whole thing dry for at least 
24 hours before continuing. 

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• For the borders of your fabric pieces, use the small paintbrush to paint a tiny line of fabric 
glue around the edges of your patterns. Then, carefully place the yarn or other border 
along the glue line to secure it in place. I used regular black yarn for the musicians and 
instruments, and a fancier black cable border for the background pieces. 

• Note: you can buy cable, lace, and other fabric borders by the yard at any fabric 

• For the details, first examine the piece for any black marker lines that can be seen through 
the fabric. If you can see them, then use those lines as a guide to paint your fabric glue. If 
you can't, you may need to project the digital image on your piece again to trace the 
details onto the fabric before you paint the glue line. Then place the yarn along the glue 
design, using the stick pins to help with placement as necessary. Once the glue has dried 
just enough for the yarn to stay in place, take out the stick pins and, if needed, place a 
heavy object on the designs to keep them flat as they dry. 

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A beautiful frame not only adds a stylish and professional touch to your fabric painting, it 
also keeps the foamboard from warping and provides an easy way to hang your piece. If 
you can find the correct size frame, simply mount the piece as you would any picture. 

If this is not possible, as in my case, take it to a framing shop to have it custom framed. 
Price depends on size and type of frame. I had mine framed at Michaels for about $80. 

Now it's time to enjoy your results. Not only have you recreated your favorite painting into 
your own masterpiece, but you've also been able to customize the size, colors, and 
texture to fit perfectly, in both your home and your budget. And it was fun. 

This project first appeared in CRAFT Volume 02 . pages 70-75. 

This document was last generated on 201 2-1 1 -03 01 :27:55 PM. 

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